Under President Trump, the USDOT has effectively turned the formerly innovative BUILD program—created to advance complex, hard-to-fund, multimodal projects—into little more than a rural roads program, dramatically undercutting both its intent and utility. A new analysis illuminates how the program has changed and what Congress can do about it.
Just a month after the Trump administration proposed a budget that would eliminate the competitive TIGER grant program entirely next year, the US Department of Transportation announced the winners of this year’s awards. This year’s winners show a clear shift in priorities—this round is decidedly rural or small town in nature and nearly devoid of transit projects. However, the winners also show that this administration recognizes how smaller-scale complete streets projects bring tremendous value to local communities.
Through the Inner Loop East Transformation Project, the City of Rochester, NY is reimagining its street network by putting people and place before cars. The project supports the city’s vision for a more vibrant, connected downtown by converting an outdated urban expressway into a walkable, bikeable Complete Streets boulevard that reconnects the neighborhoods once divided by the expressway. This project is an important step in achieving the goals set forth in the city’s Complete Streets ordinance and Master Plan.
President Obama in Camden, NJ in May. Camden is one of 13 Promise Zones, a program through the Department of Housing and Urban Development that would be expanded under the 2017 proposed budget. Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy, via HUD.
President Obama released his proposal for the fiscal year (FY) 2017 federal budget yesterday, and it outlines the President’s lofty political ambitions for the coming year. The proposal focuses on five main goals: continuing the country’s economic and fiscal progress, supporting innovation, creating opportunity for all Americans, national security and global leadership, and improving how government works. Smart growth strategies play an important role in achieving several of those goals — here are some specifics of what the budget would mean for programs related to housing, urban development, and transportation.
Dahlonega, GA will use its TIGER grant to make streets safer and more accessible. Photo via the Dahlonega-Lumpkin County Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau.
Earlier this week the U.S. Department of Transportation announced the winners of the 2014 Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grants.
With an emphasis on getting the highest bang-for-the-buck and solid partnerships, it’s not surprising that many of the winning street projects and plans are those that take a Complete Streets approach. Here are some of our favorites.
Yesterday, the Senate FY15 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) appropriations bill passed by the Senate Appropriations Committee by a 29-1 vote. The bill proposes funding levels for the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the Department of Transportation (DOT) and other related agencies for fiscal year 2015.
This comes on the heels of the House Appropriations Committee passing their version last month. Overall, the Senate bill would provide $54.4 billion in discretionary budget authority for THUD agencies, as opposed to the $52 billion from the House bill. Despite the funding differences between the two bills, the final funding decisions will likely be determined in an omnibus appropriations package later this year.
Yesterday, the House FY 2015 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (T-HUD) appropriations bill was considered in subcommittee where it was approved by a voice vote. The bill proposes funding levels for the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the Department of Transportation (DOT) and other related agencies.
Overall, the bill allocates $52 billion in discretionary spending and represents cuts of $1.8 billion from current program funding levels to compensate for lower than expected Federal Housing Administration receipts. The breakdown, by agency, of proposed funding for relevant programs is as follows:
With assistance from the Partnership for Sustainable Communities, the city of Dallas, TX will make significant improvements to its downtown transit system over the next few years with the construction of the Modern Streetcar and Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) Orange Line extension. Both projects received funding from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Transportation Investments Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant program.
With a $23 million TIGER I grant and additional funding from the City of Dallas, North Central Texas Council of Governments and DART, Dallas will soon have a streetcar network that connects residents and visitors to core areas of the city. Dallas’ modern streetcar network will be a 1.6 mile route connecting various downtown districts and destinations including Union Station, with connections to the DART Red and Blue lines and the Dallas Convention Center. The streetcar will connect walkable, mixed-use neighborhoods in the urban core, act as a catalyst for economic development and serve as a quick, efficient and cost-effective means of transportation. The street car is currently in the environmental review phase but is on track for beginning operation in 2017.
DART Orange Line Extension
DART, the region’s rapid transit agency, will soon extended its light rail service to over 90 miles of track in 2014 with the completion of the 14.5 mile Orange Line extension to the Dallas-Ft. Worth International Airport. DART operates both rail and bus services for downtown Dallas and 12 surrounding cities. Ridership on the DART light rail is among the busiest in the country with over 27.7 million passenger trips in 2012 and the extension of the Orange line will provide a much needed alternative transit option for residents and visitors. Part of the $5 million TIGER grant will go towards the construction of a rail terminal at the Dallas/Ft. Worth International Airport (DFW), which will include a train platform, passenger walkways, and a bus transfer station. This terminal will also be a connection to the TEX commuter rail system, expected to be completed in 2016. DFW is a major employer for the region and these projects will ensure that residents can get to and from work with a reliable, safe and affordable transit system.
Together, these projects are going to enhance the accessibility of the Dallas/Fort Worth region, making it easier for residents to be connected to where they live, work and play.
A rendering of Kansas City’s future streetcar. Image via PlanningKC.
In a sign of things to come for downtown Kansas City, MO, a site along the city’s forthcoming streetcar line is being transformed from a parking lot into a mixed-use development. The developer of Crossroads Apartments, who has never built in Kansas City before, told the Kansas City Star that “the streetcar is the big thing that drew us, absolutely.”
The Kansas City Downtown Streetcar Project is comprised of a streetcar loop that will mostly run along Main Street in downtown Kansas City, and will link the city’s main entertainment venues with transit centers and arts districts.
In 2009, the University of Delaware purchased the former Chrysler Assembly Plant site in Newark, DE and will soon convert the 270-acre property into the university’s new Science, Technology, and Research (STAR) Campus. Now, a $10 million U.S. Department of Transportation Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant awarded to the Wilmington Area Planning Council will fund the design and construction of a new regional transportation center.
The STAR property is located adjacent to Amtrak’s busy Northeast Corridor rail lines. The TIGER grant will fund the construction of a new passenger rail station adjacent to the STAR campus, a new pedestrian overpass, high-level platforms and structured parking. Current passenger rail service between Newark and Wilmington is limited because of a two-track choke point between Wilmington and Newport, DE. The Delaware Transit Corporation (DTC) is working to fix this by adding a third track between Wilmington and Newport, rehabilitating rail bridges and upgrading signals and communication.